Mobilizing Knowledge is an intellectual history of rural women’s organizing in 1950s South Africa. Across Natal in 1959, women organized protests against Bantu Authorities, alcohol policies, forced removals, betterment planning that included cattle culling and maintenance of dipping tanks, influx control, low wages, and the extension of passes to women. The book takes seriously rural women’s theoretical and political contributions to the daily struggle for dignity and the fight for equality in apartheid South Africa.
My first book, To Swim with Crocodiles: Land, Violence, and Belonging in South Africa, 1800-1996 (Michigan State University Press, 2018 and University of KwaZulu-Natal Press, forthcoming 2019), shows how Africans in the Table Mountain region of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, drew on the cultural inheritance of ukukhonza—a practice of affiliation that binds together chiefs and subjects—to seek social and physical security in times of war and upheaval. Grounded in a rich combination of archival sources and oral interviews, this book examines relations within and between chiefdoms to bring wider concerns of African studies into focus, including land, violence, chieftaincy, ethnic and nationalist politics, and development.